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How to minister: Imitating Jesus

Part Two in a series on “How to minister.” Continued from How to minister to others Sometimes we can get all tangled up and confused about what God wants us to do with our lives. The matter is very simple really. As 1 John 2:6 tells us, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” So …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Part Two in a series on “How to minister.” Continued from How to minister to others

Sometimes we can get all tangled up and confused about what God wants us to do with our lives. The matter is very simple really. As 1 John 2:6 tells us, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” So the questions are, “How did he walk? What was his ministry?”

As he was beginning his ministry (Luke 4:18-19), Jesus defined it citing Isaiah 61:1-3. Here is what it says and my interpretation (your interpretation may be different and I could be wrong) of what he means in saying these words:


The spirit of God is on me because…
The Holy Spirit has come in power. We know that he has come for the following seven ministries:

The Lord has anointed me…
The Holy Spirit has given me the power I need to do specific ministry.

…To preach good news to the poor.
Here is the key target of my ministry – the poor. They are targeted for preferential treatment, because their pain is greater. The irony is that usually good news is breathlessly shared; rarely does it have to be preached.

He has sent me…
God has commissioned me. I am his envoy.

…To bind up the brokenhearted,
Again, a group of people is targeted. I am to bring hope to those who have lost theirs.
I am to encourage the disappointed, to bring emotional healing where pain throbs.

…To proclaim freedom for the captives,
This is a deliverance ministry that involves speaking liberating words to those in bondage to the enemy. And while they are everywhere, words must be spoken before they experience freedom. For some it is a vision of freedom I’m sharing, to others, the words themselves activate freedom.

…Release from darkness for the prisoners,
This may be physical healing for some and release from spiritual bondage for others as the devil’s grip on their lives is pried loose.

…To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
To prophesy God’s blessing to people. To say: “It will come to this house.”

…and the day of vengeance of our God.
To prophesy God’s justice as well. God will bring justice in his time. It’s his job not ours. Of course this flies in the face of every instinct within us.

…To comfort all who mourn.
To bring the consolation and encouragement of God to those who have experienced loss. All this shows that proclamation alone is inadequate. It must be accompanied by action.

Then, in a parallel passage, Luke 4:18-20, Jesus announces that the prophecy is fulfilled. And in Luke 7:20-23 we see the prophecy confirmed in these ways:

  • The blind receive sight.
  • The lame walk.
  • Those who have leprosy are cured.
  • The deaf hear.
  • The dead are raised.
  • The good news is preached to the poor.

It’s daunting, but not complicated. That was Jesus’ ministry and it is to be our ministry as well. We have been given all the authority he was given, and Jesus proclaimed that as we minister, we would see even greater miracles than the ones he did (meaning we are without excuse).

Readers, let this stuff sink deeply into your soul. You get to see miracles like these. You get to minister as Jesus did. I don’t know about you, but the very possibility causes my heart to leap. What a thrill! What a challenge!

Continued in Mourning with those who mourn

Comments (7)

  • Just this week-I’ve witnessed three headaches and two heart problems healed, as well as someone with movement issues regaining balance!! God works here. now. Be a part of it ;). It is thrilling, and a challenge, but the only one worth jumping into.

  • What you just said gives direction, but how do I actually start telling someone about Jesus and what do I say?
    I feel the need to tell people about Jesus, I just don’t know how to even start, I’m also slightly introvert and thus wonder if I don’t have another calling/gift that is less one on one?

  • @Jorge: Sometimes we feel compelled to obey the “Great Commission” before we obey the “Great Commandment.” When reading your comments my first thought was the great quote, “Preach the gospel, use words if necessary.” First, love your friends. I mean, truly LOVE them. When you are on your knees in service the heart of Jesus will be clearly visible. There may be an opportunity to share your faith or maybe not. The first thing is always love. Don’t think that sharing the gospel is showing love. Sometimes, this is perceived as a rejection of that person. in addition, pray for them fervently. This is “love in the background.” Then, listen to the Spirit’s prompting. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. In all things, the Spirit will teach you what to say and when to say it. Trust in His guidance.

  • @ Glenn – Thank you for this wonderful advice! As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ i have experienced the inexplicable joy of knowing and following Him. I want to tell, tell, tell people about him but words don’t always work. What does work is showing real love which causes people to want “what I have” and they will often ask. The Holy Spirit makes opportunities for us to minister and then gives us the words to say. Thank you Jesus!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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